I know, I know. It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy with some other projects, like finishing edits on my new novel The Butterfly (due out early next year) and working on a third novel. But (with a trace of melancholy) here’s how I spent my last days in Jamaica.
Saturday morning started off beautiful and sunny. Since we’d been beating the road all week we decided to take it easy and relax in Mandeville. This was real family time and we spent it shopping (but, of course!) and exploring the town centre, which was alive with the sights and sounds of people getting ready to continue Emancipation Day celebrations. When I think about it now, the aromas of fresh baked patties from the Juici bakery and the fresh fruit from the open air market still fill my memory. The pace is always easy in Mandeville and I was really getting used to it. By now, I was also used to being driven around on those narrow roads that wound up the mountains and no longer worried about whether I might end up in a gully as we rounded each bend.
At home, we relaxed on the verandah, taking in the warmth of the sun and catching up on some reading. Andrea even managed to get a pic of the elusive and camera shy Talia, deeply immersed in her book.
|I'm reading "Til the Well Runs Dry". Not sure what Talia has there, but I think it's a card shark's handbook or something.|
No trip to Jamaica is complete without having sampled some seafood offerings from the Caribbean waters, so it was off to Little Ochie, a restaurant in Mandeville where you actually get to pick your fish and have it made to order. We had red snapper and parrot fish, served with rice and peas. Since the fish was being freshly prepared, we passed the time playing cards. I was happy when the food came – not only because I was hungry, but also because 12-year-old Talia is a bit of a card shark and I of course prefer eating to losing a game.
Our last evening in Mandeville was spent at the Manchester reunion, an event that brought together classmates from the entire parish, spanned several generations and included those living abroad in places like England and the U.S. who were home to visit family and reconnect with old friends. The awards ceremony honoring local businesses took place inside the school while people mingled outside, listening to music and catching up with each other. The food was great (Chinese food, Jamaican style!) and the atmosphere was just right. I didn’t want the night to end, knowing I would have to be up in a few hours to head to the airport, but my desire to stay up soon gave way to commonsense and we headed home.
|Andrea and some of her classmates - quite a fashionable crew. I was the photographer - the least I could do since I crashed the reunion. :-)|
A few hours later and I was off to the airport. I had mixed emotions about leaving on yet another beautiful day. A part of me didn’t want to leave; I’d had such a good time. But, part of me missed home too. I guess that’s the blessing of having a good life.
|At the Montego Bay Airport. I'm smiling, but I'm missing my island already!|
Besides, there’s always next year…